Heading into Thursday’s medal race finale in the women’s two-person 470 sailing event, competition for a spot on the podium had been heating up. The gold medal seemed virtually wrapped up, with Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark dominating the preliminaries to the point where they could win the gold by essentially showing up to the medal race. Behind them, however, was one of the most competitive fields in Olympics history.
Among the group competing in the medal round were Boston College alumnae Annie Haegar and Briana Provancha. Situated in fourth place halfway through the 10-race competition, the duo had been neck-and-neck with several talented teams. Qualifying for the medal round as one of the 10 best teams in the world, they needed a good, strong finish to assure themselves of a trip to the podium.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
Haegar and Provancha finished 10th in the final medal race on Thursday, scoring them 20 points towards their final total for an 11-race cumulative total of 69. That finished them in seventh place, just seven points off of a bronze medal finish.
Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark took home the gold, stamping a dominant performance in which their discard was for an eighth place finish. Mills and Clark won three of the preliminary races, finishing fourth or better in four additional races. They all but had the gold in their possession before the medal race ever started, enabling them to coast home with an eighth place finish on Thursday.
That stood in contrast to New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. After disqualifying in the first race and earning 21 points, they rattled off four race victories. But because they disqualified in the first race, they couldn’t discard any other finishes, absorbing a 21st place finish in Race 6. On Thursday, they earned silver with 54 points after finishing third.
France’s Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance earned the bronze medal with 62 points.
Seven points separated the Americans from the medal podium. Given the sixth place finish of the French duo who finished third, Haegar and Provancha would’ve needed to finish fifth or higher to earn a bronze medal.